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Old 08-11-2008, 05:43 AM   #1
pcolson
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Default Ale ferment temps

i currently have been making my ales ferment around 69-71 degrees what would happen if i lowered/raised the temps? and should i?

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Old 08-11-2008, 05:47 AM   #2
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Most ales are happy at 68, why would you want to change that? Unless it is a belgian yeast, those temps are perfect.

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Old 08-11-2008, 05:53 AM   #3
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I usually go with about 68 degrees for all my ales. This is the temp of the fermenter, not the ambient temp.

If you lowered it, and I sometimes go as low as 63 on my ales, it may take longer or even put the yeast to sleep a little early, but it can make for a cleaner ferment. If you go higher, you will start to get a lot of fruity esters and fusel alcohols, the higher the temps, the worse it gets. I say mid to upper 60s is perfect.

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Old 08-11-2008, 12:14 PM   #4
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I have been trying to start all my ferments (ales) around 62 - 64 and let them warm up to 68 - 70 after 4 to 5 days. After the initial vigorous fermentation slows, I let it warm up to make sure it does not stall prematurely. It keeps the krausen in check in the beginning, and seems to allow full attenuation. I got about 80% attenuation on my IIPA, and pitched my barleywine on the IIPA cake Sat. I let it get up to 67 overnight, and the blowoff tube has some gunk in it this AM. Back to 62 with you.

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Old 08-11-2008, 01:44 PM   #5
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It all depends on what you are looking for. If you want to stress the Ester characteristic of the yeast you can ferment warmer up to 70, 71, 72...etc. with dry strains. You have to be careful though because if you bring it up too warm you will have bottled fruit, or even worse higher alcohols which are just plain nasty in beer. Now, if you are using any one of the Belgian strains what you can do is start them cooler (low to mid 60's) and then bring them up as the ferment progresses. You can even bring them up past the 80's . But when to do this comes only with experience....so only do so when appropriate (like when brewing a Dubbel, Tripel, etc) and only when you feel comfortable you know what the yeast is doing.

Now on the other side of the coin...you can push your temps way way down (even past the 'recommended' temperature from the manufacturer...same going upwards) but you risk a very slow or stalled ferment. Which is really not a terribly big deal, as a day in a warmer temperature will help get things back on track. The plus side to this is that you get a 'cleaner' flavor profile...in other words you really don't taste the yeast profile so much as you do the malt and hops. But this is very dependent on the strain of yeast be used. You can push some yeasts up higher without affecting the 'clean' taste (Nottingham seems to be fairly good at this) so going colder won't do terribly much different, however in some recipes you'll notice. It is all trial and error once you begin playing with these things. But that's pretty much the rule of thumb.

Bottom line though, is to err on the side of colder. You rarely get off flavors from fermenting cold, I imagine it could happen if the strain is stressed but I have not experienced this. I have experienced some undesirable characteristics from fermenting too warm too soon when pushing strains though.

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Old 08-12-2008, 02:22 AM   #6
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how can i better control the temp on a room i live in memphis its very hot and humid here so i was just wondering i went home this morning and the fermometer said 74! i kinda freaked out its a belgium wheat beer..

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Old 08-12-2008, 02:24 AM   #7
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could i wrap a wet towel around it? will that help keep it cooler? or maybe get a plastic tub and throw a 2 liter of ice in it?

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Old 08-12-2008, 02:26 AM   #8
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i keep my fermentation cabinet at 58°F ambient which keeps a nice 62-64°F fermentation temperature. i find this to be perfect to make wonderfully clean, flavorful ales.

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Old 08-12-2008, 02:27 AM   #9
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how would i go about doing that?

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Old 08-12-2008, 02:51 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pcolson View Post
how would i go about doing that?
Assuming that you, like most people myself included, are lacking a temperature controlled fermentation chamber, you can do a few easy things to keep your fermentation somewhat cooler than the ambient temperature, in no particular order:

First, start with the coolest place in your house. If you have a basement, it's probably in there. Can you close off a basement room with the air conditioner vents open to make it really cold in there? That might work right there, in the summer at least.

A rope handled keg tub is great for a lot of brewing tasks (don't lift it by the rope handles! They will pull through eventually.), but you can put your fermenter in the tub and fill it with water. Freeze plastic bottles of water and rotate them through the tub to maintain the temp you want.

A towel or shirt around the carboy, wicking up water from the tub will help. Aim a fan at that to really turbo charge your swamp cooler.
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